by Arudra Burra
I teach philosophy at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi. My teaching reflects my training, which is in the Western philosophical tradition: I teach PhD seminars on Plato and Rawls, while Bentham and Mill often figure in my undergraduate courses.
What does it mean to teach these canonical figures of the Western philosophical tradition to students in India? I have often asked myself this question. Similar questions are now being asked by philosophers situated in the West: Anglophone philosophy, at least in the analytic tradition, seems to have arrived at a late moment of post-colonial reckoning.
Continue reading “The Lamps in our House: Reflections on Postcolonial Pedagogy”
by Ompha Tshikhudo Malima
The History of Philosophy: An Injustice to Africa
The practice of philosophy cannot be done with innocence and ignorance while true history and reality shows that “the blurred and dotted picture of the history of Western philosophy is a deformation of the African identity.” This was done through denying humanity and thus philosophy to the African. The use of the Cartesian maxim cogito, ergo sum (I think, therefore I am) resonates with what Mogobe Ramose problematized as the abuse of the Aristotelian maxim “man is a rational animal.” The false logic then goes, because the African cannot think, s/he is thus not human. Subairi Nasseem argues that the link between epistemology (the study of knowledge) and ontology (the study of the nature of being) leads to the same thing, and this is why I use the Cartesian and Aristotelian maxims. Emevwo Biakolo categorized these colonial attitudes and plots into “cross-cultural cognition of the African condition” and concluded that they serve no purpose in understanding African philosophy and their purpose is only to derail the discipline. Western philosophy created an imaginary centre which marginalizes other philosophical traditions such as Asian, African and Eastern philosophies. It was founded on “scientific and spiritual racism” which was perpetuated by famous thinkers such as Immanuel Kant and Georg Hegel. This historical injustice to (African) philosophy lacks valid reasoning and should not have a place in Africa. According to Dennis Masaka, the problem of philosophical racism is attributed to, and located “within the context of Western cultural imperialism, which has historically tended to take its own testimony as having transcultural relevance and application” while falsifying the idea of an epistemic centre. A historical injustice was committed by the failure of philosophy in not “understanding different realities differently.”
Continue reading “The Case for Inter-Philosophical Dialogue: An African Philosophical Perspective”
An Interview with Sayan Dey
by Hadje Cresencio Sadje
Background: Since the global outbreak of COVID-19 on December 2019, there have been 271.963.258 confirmed cases, including 5.331.019 deaths, reported to World Health Organisation (WHO, 2021). To address the ongoing challenges of the global pandemic, various governments and non-governmental organisations agreed to continue and strengthen cooperation to address the devastating ripple effects of the COVID-19 (Amaya, 2021). Despite these efforts, the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic have posed unprecedented challenges, especially to the poorest, most vulnerable, and marginalized groups. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected racial, ethnic minority, and marginalized groups (Tai et. Al, 2020). According to recent studies, the poorest, most vulnerable, and marginalized groups are left far behind (IFRC, 2021; Economic Policy Institute, 2020).
Continue reading “Decolonial Praxis, Education and COVID-19: Perspectives from India”
by Zuleika Bibi Sheik
Of the myriad calls for decolonising—the university, the museum, the curriculum, the mind, and so on—few have given attention to decolonising the self. In my/our process of decolonising the self, poetry has been pivotal in giving name to the nameless, which is dreamed but not yet realised (Lorde 2007, 73). As a black woman/woman of colour, following the pen strokes of Audre Lorde (2007) and Gloria Anzaldúa (1987), who put flesh back into words, poetry is a necessity in decolonising and reconstituting the self. In what follows, I hope to walk with the reader on this path of realising my colonised self, decolonising it through the emergence of the plural self, and the eventual reconstituting of self as a coming to voice (Lorde 2007, 79–86).
Continue reading “From Decolonising the Self to Coming to Voice”
by Gabriela Monteiro and Ruth Steuerwald
Brasília, February 9th, 2020
Hi, my dearest German girl!
How I miss you. Here in Brazil, carnival is approaching and people are getting more agitated every day. Last week, I was in Salvador and the Blackest city outside Africa is still pulsating. The Iemanjá celebration was happening on 02/02, a celebration that always touches me a lot. It’s also a festival which is full of problems and contradictions, with the presence of white tourists and photographers consuming what is sacred for Black people. Everything is very difficult, but as capoeira teaches us, we need to gingar – and we can’t forget who is the real owner of the party. Never forget who we are.
Continue reading “Feminist Letters Crossing Borders – Cartas feministas atravessando fronteiras”
The latest issue of Acta Academica contains the Special Focus: How do we know the world? Collective engagements with the (de)coloniality of development research and teaching.
The Special Focus was guest edited by the Convivial Thinking Writing Collective. Our collaborative engagements with the topic have evolved from a workshop in early 2019 and a consecutive blog series. Convivial Thinking is a collective platform seeking to surpass boundaries of origin, ethnicity, professional affiliation and academic disciplines in order to give space to inclusive, interdisciplinary and alternative approaches to mainstream methods of knowledge production, especially in the context of “development”. The articles in the Special Focus reflect these concerns.
Continue reading “News from the Convivial Thinking Writing Collective: Engagements with the (de)coloniality of development research and teaching”
by Rosalba Icaza & Zuleika Sheik
Some discomforts, reflections and an invitation.
The storyteller imbues the margins and our embodied experiences of oppression with sacredness for as Anzaldúa (2007: 60) describes those who are pushed out and have faced multiple oppressions are most likely to develop ‘la facultad’ – the capacity to see in surface phenomena the meaning of deeper realities. The ones possessing this sensitivity are ‘excruciatingly alive to the world’ and from critical collective remembering, recreating and reweaving these experiences can develop the most complex and multiple forms of liberatory praxis ~ Sara Motta
Continue reading “COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins”
by Ompha Tshikhudo Malima
The most important questions in decolonial studies are: “what do we decolonise?” and “how do we decolonise?” Continue reading “Decoloniality and the Activist Intellectual”
by Romina Istratii
Recently, I participated in a panel that was convened at LSE dedicated to the topic of decolonising African knowledge systems. The panel members, who included also Prof Akosua Adomako Ampofo from the University of Ghana and Dr Wangui wa Goro, were invited to trace the progress made to-date in decolonising Africa’s knowledge systems and to explore how these systems may be rethought, re-framed and reconstructed to rid them of the hegemony of western Euro-centrism. I’d like to share some of the key points of my presentation with the network of Convivial Thinking to call for a more organised effort toward decentring the current epistemology.
Continue reading “The LONG READ on DECOLONISING KNOWLEDGE: How western Euro-centrism is systemically preserved and what we can do to subvert it”
by Lata Narayanaswamy
Through the ‘colonial encounter’, existing power relations and imbalances have been shaped in ways that are geographically and temporally uneven yet politically enduring. Unsettling these tendencies through a more critical reflection on how the colonial encounter underpins these perceptions is key to the application of the ‘decolonial’ lens. Calls to ‘decolonise’ the curriculum are getting louder, and rightly so. Whilst this is a start, it does not, in my view, go far enough. There is a need, I would argue, for us to turn the decolonial lens onto the institutional structures and processes that shape the function and delivery of research and teaching in Higher Education (HE).
Continue reading “Why it is time to turn the decolonial lens onto the institutional structures of Higher Education”